The Peyton Manning three-ring circus has made it into the first ring. Manning visits the Broncos today in Denver as he tries to choose between them and likely two other major contenders: the Miami Dolphins and Arizona Cardinals.
No matter where he signs, the coverage of Manning will be non-stop and the pressure for him to succeed will be intense, but both of these things will reach their highest pitch if he plays for the Denver Broncos.
Today Manning visits Broncos staff that includes the expected cast of characters: owner Pat Bowlen, coach John Fox, and Executive VP of Football Operations, John Elway. No doubt Peyton will deal with similar meetings in Arizona and Miami, but only in Denver would he have to fight off the specter of two other quarterbacks. The sports media would never let fans hear the end of the comparisons between Manning, John Elway, and Tim Tebow.
Sure, in Miami Peyton Manning would face comparisons to Dan Marino and tons of pressure to be the savior for a franchise starved for a top quarterback for well over a decade. But Marino is not as heavily involved with his team as Elway is, and there is no popular upstart like Tim Tebow to push aside--Chad Henne has already fallen out of favor with the majority of fans.
Arizona would be the most peaceful situation of the three destinations, if that it what Peyton Manning is after. And displacing Kevin Kolb is not exactly going to create a huge stir, especially since Kolb may be traded soon. After Manning visits Broncos staff today, his other visits will have to come soon to meet his goal of deciding his new team by the first day of free agency.
What does Peyton Manning want out of the last few years (if he's lucky) of his football playing career, and which team is the one that will most fit his goals?